The UK-based Institute of Clinical Research (ICR) has named Earl Howe, shadow minister for health in the House of Lords, as its first ever president.

In his new role Earl Howe will act both as a figurehead for the ICR and as an ambassador for the clinical research industry, helping to provide introductions to key advocates, the Institute said. His position in the UK Parliament “will also offer ICR opportunities to hold top-level briefings and events with parliamentary contacts, helping to influence industry policies”, it added.

According to ICR chair Susan Ollier, Earl Howe’s appointment in the organisation’s 30th year of operation “reflects the mature position and stature that the Institute has reached in its development”. The ICR will also be appointing a vice-president, based in mainland Europe, to assist in supporting the Institute’s growing membership base and continuing to expand the learning and development opportunities for its members.

Earl Howe has been the opposition spokesperson for health and social services in the Hose of Lords for over 10 years, the ICR noted. He has “extensive” knowledge of the medical and clinical research industries, and is a member of the all-party parliamentary groups on the pharmaceutical industry and mental health.

“I have long had a professional interest in clinical research and I am personally relishing the opportunity of helping to further raise the profile of this important area of medicine,” Earl Howe commented.